IN SHORT: A press release from the US treasury department is circulating on social media, claiming four Kenyan politicians will be sanctioned for their links to “sponsored violence”. But it’s a fake document, and should be ignored.
“Treasury sanctions four Kenyan politicians linked to sponsored violence,” reads the title on what seems to be a press release from the US Department of the Treasury, circulating on Facebook as a screenshot.
It is dated 29 March 2023.
A section of the text in the screenshot reads: “The Treasury Department is taking action against these individuals after establishing that they planned and sponsored violence on Monday March 27, 2023. Their actions were meant to silence dissent, limit freedom of speech and the press; degrade the rule of law; perpetuate violent conflicts; undermine economic markets; and generally, undermine democracy in Kenya.”
On 9 March Raila Odinga, the leader of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and the Azimio la Umoja coalition, announced the start of mass action protests against the high cost of living and what he has called the abuse of power by William Ruto’s government.
It has been reported that the United Democratic Alliance, of which Ruto is the leader, wants to hold Odinga’s supporters responsible for the destruction of property during the protests. A university student was killed in clashes between the police and protesters.
But is this really a document released by the US treasury department? We checked.
‘This is FAKE!’ says US embassy
“This is FAKE! #StopReflectVerify,” the tweet reads.
Looking more closely at the document in the screenshot, we noted some inconsistencies with the treasury department’s website. In the screenshot circulating on Facebook there are no icons to share the press release to social media, unlike in this other press release.
We also checked the list of press releases for 29 March, and did not find the one circulating on social media.
For more information on how to avoid falling for fake images and videos online, watch our video on how to verify images and videos.
Republish our content for free
For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false
A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?
Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.Publishers guide
Africa Check teams up with Facebook
Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.
The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.
You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.